Abu Dhabi state investment firm Mubadala has announced a partnership with Dubai Future Foundation and US conglomerate GE’s additive division to establish the first microfactories in the region.
The memorandum of understanding aims to see an Abu Dhabi-based microfactory serving industrial firms and Dubai-based microfactory focussed on consumer goods and services. Both will support developments in 3D printing and small batch manufacturing.
“These Microfactories are a glimpse of what the future represents, combining innovation and educational ecosystems with fast, efficient and sustainable manufacturing capabilities. The possibilities are truly limitless,” said HE Mohamed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE minister of cabinet affairs and MD of Dubai Future Foundation.
Under the deal, members of GE’s additive engineering team will work with companies from the region across several industrial sectors to offer best practices on design and manufacturing components.
The factories will focus on areas including additive design, customer innovation and digital manufacturing and will incorporate a crowdsourcing platform for innovation.
The Mechanical Engineer Laboratory of Japan first proposed Microfactories in 1990.
They are small dimension facilities able to produce small dimension products to save resources, space and time.
Dubai unveiled a 3D printing strategy last year with the aim of becoming a hub for the technology by 2030.
Under these plans, Dubai Future Foundation established a $100m investment fund with US software firm Autodesk last year to provide financing for entrepreneurs in the 3D printing space.